CHAPEL HILL, NC – With less than 36 hours to go until their final project is due, Kelly Grubnose, Kumar Ramanujan, Skyler Laffley, and Ashley Barliman had still not completed their Economics 101 final project. With the project, the group chose to explore the concept of the free rider problem–which describes the situation where individuals pay less than their fair share of the cost of a common resource when obligations are ill-defined–but members have thus far been slow to contribute to the effort.
“Yeah, I have, like, a solid B+ so it won’t change my grade – as long as it gets done,” said project leader Barliman.
The outcome has a bigger impact on other individuals, however.
“I really need this project to go well,” Ramanujan said. Asked why he was not doing more work to that end, he defended his contributions.
“[We have] been meeting in my room for the past few weeks and everyone has been playing my Fifa,” Ramanujan said, “so I feel like I’ve contributed my fair share already. Stop using Barcelona, Kelly, you’re an asshole.”
The group is set for disaster on its free rider problem project unless some individuals voluntarily create the infrastructure needed to carry the work to completion. Even so, the collaboration has yet to move past a ‘Notes/Ideas’ Google Doc that Barliman emailed to the others the day that the group was formed.
Just before press time, Econ 101 lecturer Rita Balaban warned the group that the free rider problem project was “not too big to fail,” but was reluctant to offer incentives for individuals to take action.